Hit the road with us on the German autobahns, which are famous for being the few public roads in the world without speed limits. Dine with us at the Provencale Sunday market. And, of course, have a glass of wine with us in Haut-Médoc, home of one of the most celebrated vineyards in the world.
We planned to visit beautiful places in Europe in June 2005. We had a business meeting in Vienna, and our planning started here. In the beginning, we planned to see Bayer, a little bit of the Alps, and maybe a little bit of North Italy. But our appetite grew, the more we talked about the trip. And finally, our plan looked as follows:
- 20 days
- 7600 km
- Ten European countries, including the destinations like Venice, Monaco, French Riviera, Catalunya, Pyrenees, and Bordeaux.
The plan looked pretty demanding in terms of driving, but also included a possibility to see a lot.
From Tallinn to Vienna
Everything started as planned. Finnjet by Siljaline departed from Tallinn at 11 AM towards Rostock. We had a nice seaside cabin with a window and TV on the ferry. It was good to relax on the ship by reading books and doing nothing. Being on the trip of 25 hours we arrived in Rostock at 1 PM, an hour later than planned.
We had a TomTom navigator installed together with GPS in the trunk. This setup helped us a lot. Driving by the instructions of the navigator makes driving as easy as at home. It also helps you to save a lot of time as you just type in the destination address and the navigator calculates the best route for that drive. When we left Rostock Harbor, the navigator estimated that we would be in the hotel in Oberammergau, Austria at 9 PM, and we were there exactly at that time.
German highways are well-known for their quality and speed. The average pace on that day was 130 km/h. That includes rest breaks and lunch. There are enough rest areas by the autobahn where you can have a cup of coffee and snacks or stretch your legs.
We arrived in Oberammergau at about 9 PM, a pretty Alpine village. There were two restaurants open in the village at this time of the day (or should I say night). One of them did not want to serve us, and they also only spoke German. The other restaurant had very friendly staff, and the food was also delicious.
The next day, although the weather was rainy, we visited the ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Neuschwanstein Castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle is King Ludwig’s magnificent and most famous castle, built in a neo-Late Romanesque style. From that castle, Walt Disney got the inspiration for the castles for his animations. The castle was extremely beautiful, but as it was rainy, we did not take any pictures.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a Bavarian town where the Winter Olympics took place in 1936. The houses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are very pretty, decorated with frescos. Also, the whole atmosphere in town is very quiet and friendly.
After Garmisch, we headed to Vienna. We crossed the German-Austrian border and paid the highway tax for two weeks. Austria requires all vehicles using the autobahn to display a highway tax sticker “Autobahn Vignette” on the windshield of the vehicle. The quality of the highway declined after the border. Several roads were also constructed, so hopefully, now the roads are in much better condition.
The gasoline prices dropped after the border. In Germany, the price was 1,33-1,35 EUR per liter, and in Austria, 1,10-1,15 per liter.
Vienna welcomed us warmly. Thanks to the navigator, we found the hotel in no time. As there were so many road construction projects in Vienna, it would have been very challenging to find the right way without the help of a navigator. In Vienna, we visited Schönbrunn Palace and walked in the old town. Vienna has very commodious old town-wide streets and lots of space. Schönbrunn palace is magnificent with its gardens. Also, the tour about Maria Teresa was very interesting; I would recommend it. Usually, it is also recommended to have a Sacher cake in Vienna, but it seems to be a hype.
Read more about crossing the Alps